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Free at Noon Flashback: Lissie brings the wild west to Philadelphia

Photo by Breanna Keohane
Photo by Breanna Keohane

With acoustic guitar in hand, Lissie walked out on World Cafe Live’s stage earlier today to show Philadelphia a little bit of her midwest roots with a raw folk rock sound.

Alongside electric guitarist Edward Stanton, Lissie kicked off the set with her new song ”Hero,” her stripped-down performance showing off a natural vocal talent and intricate lyrics. Debuting another new song “Don’t You Give Up On Me,” Lissie showed the crowd her vulnerable side through a message that focuses on her sense of self and her surroundings. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: SIMO warms the crowd at World Cafe Live

SIMO | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
SIMO | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

Nashville-based SIMO braved Philadelphia’s cold weather and snowy forecast to perform XPN’s Free at Noon concert today. The blues rock trio filled World Cafe Live with an energetic crowd ready to hear their improvisational, soulful sound. SIMO has come into Philly just in time to prepare for their upcoming tour and soon-to-be-released album, Let Love Show The Way.

Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Basia Bulat enchants a loving World Cafe Live crowd

Basia Bulat | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com
Basia Bulat | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com

For XPN’s second Free at Noon of the year, esteemed Canadian songwriter Basia Bulat came to town, promoting her upcoming Jim James-produced album Good Advice, which comes out in just under a month on Secret City Records.

Preceding this, I had heard tell from several colleagues that Bulat was a force to be reckoned with, and as such I walked into the room at World Cafe with markedly high expectations. At the start of the set, she met them with ease, and by the end, she had well exceeded them. Her sound was beautifully simple; comprised of guitar, keys/synth, bass, and drums. However, with these tools she managed to contrast her sound magnificently. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Bobby Long brings intimate power to World Cafe Live

 

Bobby Long | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Bobby Long | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Bobby Long is a singer-songwriter who does not forget where he came from, and that was on full display this afternoon at World Cafe Live. Whether it was his many quips about his birthplace in England or the credit he gave to XPN’s Dan Reed for playing his music before anyone else was giving it radio play, Long not only plays roots folk with the skill of a veteran but constantly remembers and acknowledges his own roots. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Hezekiah Jones plays a heartwarming post-Thanksgiving set

Hezekiah Jones | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollackphotography.com
Hezekiah Jones | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollackphotography.com

With a roomful of music fans nursing hangovers, food comas or both, there couldn’t have been a more appropriate soundtrack Friday than the lovely Free at Noon set from Hezekiah Jones. The Philly folk mainstays just released their excellent new In Loving Memory of oosi Lockjaw – either their fourth or fifth long-player, depending on how you count – and their set Friday brought its beautifully mellow tones and moments of rousing rock to a packed World Cafe Live house. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Wielding only a guitar and microphone, City and Colour wows the audience

City & Colour | Photo by Liz Waldie | lizwaldie.com
City & Colour | Photo by Liz Waldie | lizwaldie.com

The naming of City and Colour makes sense when you learn that it is the musical brainchild of Dallas Green, whose name is a city and then a color. How the Canadian singer-songwriter was given his birth name is a lesser known story that surprisingly has a connection to the City of Brotherly Love. Dallas Green’s father made a bet on the 1980 World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies to win. On September 29, 1980, Green’s father won his bet and Green’s mother gave birth to him; in celebration of the win, the musician’s father named him Dallas Green after the Phillies manager with the same name. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: McClain Sullivan puts on a vocal clinic at World Cafe

McClain Sullivan | Photo by Liz Waldie | lizwaldie.com
McClain Sullivan | Photo by Liz Waldie | lizwaldie.com

Brooklyn-based singer McClain Sullivan kicked off Friday’s Free at Noon doubleheader at World Cafe Live with a stunning display of vocal dexterity and charm. Though she’s not as well known as the afternoon’s second performer, City and Colour, Sullivan more than held her own, proving that she deserved to share a stage with such a big name.

Over the course of her six song set, Sullivan and her supporting four-piece band were able to play all but one track off her excellent debut LP Rachel. As she weaved her way through the album’s serene jazzy sounds, Sullivan dazzled with her incredible singing voice, expertly switching between a high-pitched whiny drawl and a rich, chocolatly bass. This became most apparent on funky tune “Happy Anniversary,” when she broke into a delightful scatting solo at the song’s climax, impersonating the deep voice of a lover before switching to her own falsettoed speech. Continue reading →